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Ventilation is one of the most important engineering controls available to the industrial hygienist for improving or maintaining the quality of the air in the occupational work environment. Broadly defined, ventilation is a method of controlling the environment with air flow.

Ventilation is addressed in specific standards for the general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring, and the construction industry.

OSHA Standards

This section highlights OSHA standards and standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to ventilation.

Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.

General Industry (29 CFR 1910)

Shipyard Employment (29 CFR 1915)

  • 1915 Subpart D, Welding, cutting and heating
    • 1915.51, Ventilation and protection in welding, cutting and heating

Longshoring (29 CFR 1918)

  • 1918 Subpart I, General working conditions
    • 1918.94, Ventilation and atmospheric conditions (See also 1918.2, definitions of Hazardous cargo, materials, substance or atmosphere and Ro-Ro operations)

Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)

Standard Interpretations

Hazard Recognition

Ventilation may be deficient in confined spaces, facilities failing to provide adequate maintenance of ventilation equipment, facilities operated to maximize energy conservation, windowless areas, and areas with high occupant densities. The following references aid in recognizing and evaluating hazards associated with ventilation in the workplace.

  • Field Operations Manual (FOM). OSHA Directive CPL 02-00-150, (2011, April 22).

  • OSHA Technical Manual (OTM). OSHA Directive TED 01-00-015 [TED 1-0.15A], (1999, January 20). Several portions of the OTM include ventilation as part of the evaluation process:
  • Industrial Ventilation: A Manual of Recommended Practice, 25th Edition. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), (2004). Provides research data and information on the design, maintenance, and evaluation of industrial exhaust ventilation systems, including basic ventilation principles and sample calculations.

Possible Solutions

Industrial ventilation generally involves the use of supply and exhaust ventilation to control airborne contaminants, in the workplace, to acceptable levels. Other major applications of industrial ventilation are to prevent fire and explosions, and to control temperature, humidity, and odors. The following resources contain information about the use of ventilation controls.

Additional Information

Related Safety and Health Topics Pages

Other Resources

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